Excise escalator tax on alcohol is 'taxation without representation' says MP

Automatic tax increase

My office, which serves the large Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola riding, maintains a 24/7, 365-day-a-year telephone answering service to ensure accessibility.

This is driven by my belief all citizens should be heard, including those unable to communicate during standard work hours due to work or caretaking commitments.

One such group of individuals who have (difficulty) voicing their concerns to me while working around the clock, are farmers. Many have shared with me they anticipate a devastating 80% to 100% loss of their crops due to this year's cold snap. While the total damage is still unknown, preliminary reports are alarming.

The provincial government runs a crop loss program, significantly underwritten by the federal government. However, the process from initial assessments to receiving cheques can take considerable time, as the wheels of government move slowly. This poses challenges for small and medium-sized farm operations, potentially causing major short-term cash flow issues.

Farmers, already dealing with crop damage, are bracing for another challenge.

On April 1, the federal carbon tax (outside B.C.) and B.C.'s provincial carbon tax will rise from $65 to $80 per tonne, as mandated by the Trudeau government. This represents an increase of more than 20% in the carbon tax, surpassing the current inflation rate.

While certain farm fuels are exempt from the tax, other inputs like fertilizers, natural gas for heating barns and diesel for transport, are all subject to the carbon tax. These additional costs contribute to higher prices for Canadian produce, causing inflation at your local grocery store and makes Canadian agriculture exports less competitive against countries without a carbon tax.

The Conservative official Opposition caucus will continue to oppose carbon taxation. My focus this week, however, is on the annual excise escalator tax established by (the government) in 2017. Those involved in value-added agricultural businesses, like wineries, are particularly affected.

Products produced after April 1 will be subject to a 4.3% increase due to the government’s automatic “excise escalator tax” on beer, wine and spirits. This tax, which increases annually and is pegged to inflation, does not require a parliamentary vote, essentially bypassing Parliament.

I have strongly opposed this form of taxation without representation and at the time put forward a motion to block its adoption.
Unfortunately, the government used its majority to legislate this excise escalator tax.

Given the current crisis in our local agricultural sector, and the ongoing negative impacts of carbon tax increases on farmers, now is not the time to further increase excise taxes. If the escalator tax increase were debated in the House, a vote could be held, allowing constituents to hold their Members of Parliament accountable for their vote.

My question to you this week is:

Do you support this automatic escalator tax? Why or why not?

You can reach me at [email protected] or toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dn Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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